Friday 6 December 2019

Dunnes worker who put on a Santa experience for 'devastated' family sees donations soar for his sick daughter

'No good deed goes unnoticed'

Lisa Flynn with son's Adam (8), Alex (6) and Kate (3)
Lisa Flynn with son's Adam (8), Alex (6) and Kate (3)
Catherine Devine

Catherine Devine

A festive deed has not gone unnoticed as fundraising has poured in for a family who went beyond the call of duty to help another family at Christmas.

A family from Cobh, Co Cork were left devastated when they turned up to see the Santa experience at Dunnes Stores, only to discover they had booked tickets for the wrong day.

The heartbroken family who had two young girls arrived on December 23, but the Santa experience had ended the previous day.

In the spirit of Christmas, Dunnes Stores manager Declan Flanagan and security guard Mark Flynn put on an unforgettable experience for the "devastated" little girls.

Mark dressed up as "Buddy the elf" and took the girls on a special guided tour of Santa's grotto, even though Santa had already left to get ready to deliver presents to children.

Mark's wife Lisa Flynn told that the pair turned on all the lights and "turned a devastating moment into an unforgettable experience".

Mark and Lisa Flynn with children Adam, Alex and Kate
Mark and Lisa Flynn with children Adam, Alex and Kate

In the case of no good deed goes unnoticed, the local community began fundraising for Mark and Lisa's little girl Kate (3), after they learned she was ill and needed help.

Three-year-old Kate Flynn has spent most of her life in Crumlin hospital and has a tracheostomy which means she needs a ventilator to breathe.

"Kate took a turn for the worst in November and she needs a ventilator to help her breathe all the time now. She used to only need it when she sleeps but now she's confined to her cot," Kate's mum Lisa Flynn told

"We're fundraising to get a new room for Kate because she's confined to her cot and currently she's living in the storeroom off the kitchen because she can't get upstairs. She has no windows, no fresh-air and no room for a bed."

Three-year-old Kate is now confined to her cot after taking a
Three-year-old Kate is now confined to her cot after taking a "bad turn" in November

Lisa gave up work to look after Kate full-time, who is in and out of Crumlin hospital.

"We don't have the capacity to alter our house because of structural limitations but we found a house locally that would suit Kate's needs.

"We only have Mark's salary so the bank won't give us a new mortgage because we're high risk."

Lisa explained that the family are working with the bank and the credit union to try and agree on a mortgage, but estimates they will need to raised €70,000 to bridge the gap.

Fundraising has been launched to help Kate (3) get a new room
Fundraising has been launched to help Kate (3) get a new room

"We need somewhere that's suitable for Kate because we have to face the reality that she might continue to deteriorate."

Lisa currently has to wash Kate in a baby bath on the kitchen table as the bathroom is located on the third floor of the house.

She said as Kate continues to grow, they need to find alternative arrangements.

"It's hard to make a plan for Kate's future because it's unknown. Before November she didn't need her ventilator during the day and she was doing ballet and going to pre-school. Now she might be confined to her room permanently."

Since Kate came home from the hospital, Lisa said the family have been struggling financially.

"Kate has a number of machines and so our electricity bill is huge. We do have a lot of financial stress so that's why we set up the GoFundMe page to give Kate a chance of life."

Kate who enjoyed Christmas at home with her two brother Adam (8) and Alex (6) will be returning to Crumlin in the coming days.

"We don't know if she'll continue to deteriorate. It's devastating to watch her not even have enough energy to leave her room. We're hoping the fundraising will help us make life more manageable for our little girl."

After locals heard of the family's good deed at Christmas and their struggle, they began holding coffee mornings and other fundraising events for the family.

"Every donation helps. It's amazing that people are helping us," said Lisa.

To help the Flynn family you can donate at:

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